North Carolina CDL Requirements

You must get an North Carolina commercial driver’s license (CDL) to be able to drive commercial vehicles in North Carolina. For Federal CDL Requirements applicable to every state, click here.


North Carolina adopted the Federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, and is part of a nationally uniform system of classifying, testing, and licensing commercial vehicle drivers.


When is an North Carolina CDL Required

You need an North Carolina CDL when you operate the following vehicles:

CLASS A – Applies only to “combination” vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) more than 26,000 pounds, and the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 pounds. A driver with a Class A CDL (plus any appropriate endorsements) can also operate all vehicles included in Class B, C, and D (below)

CLASS B – Includes single or combination vehicles where the GVWR of the single vehicle is more than 26,000 pounds. The vehicle being pulled must not be more than 10,000 pounds. A driver with an North Carolina Class B CDL (plus appropriate endorsements) can also legally operate all vehicles in Class C or D.

CLASS C – Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that meets neither the definition of Group A nor that of Group B as contained in this section, but that either is designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver, or is used in the transportation of materials found to be hazardous for the purposes of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act and which require the motor vehicle to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F).

CLASS D – Private passenger, regular operator.

North Carolina CDL Age Requirements

You must be at least 18 years of age to drive within state lines (intrastate).

You must be at least 21 years old to:

  • drive commercial vehicles across state lines (interstate)
  • haul hazardous materials
  • transport students in a school bus

How to Apply for an North Carolina CDL

Documentation Requirements

Proof of Age & Identity
You will need 2 documents from this category which provide your full name and date of birth. Documents must include your full name (including middle name). Documents that do not include a middle name will not be accepted.

Proof of Social Security
You will need a Social Security card or proof of Social Security Number by presenting one of the following documents:

Proof of Residency
If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must provide documentation issued by the U.S. government indicating legal presence:

Proof of Liability Insurance
You will need 1 document from this category.

Proof of Clear Driving Record
At time of application, you must certify that;

  • Your license is not suspended, disqualified or revoked
  • You currently do not hold more than one Driver License

More information about document requirements.

How much does the North Carolina CDL cost?

What is the fee for a commercial driver’s license?

  • Application Fee $30.00
  • CDL Endorsement $3/yr per Endorsement
  • Class A License, CDL $15.00/yr
  • Class B License, CDL $15.00/yr
  • Class C License, CDL $15.00/yr
  • Duplicate License $10.00
  • Learner Permit, CDL $15.00

Sources:
Official North Carolina CDL Manual
North Carolina DMV
FMSCA Guidelines